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Note:  This hack was recorded live at EdCampNYC on May 5th, 2012 as part of the Model It! Science Inquiry Lesson Slam.Teacher notes, student notes outline, and practice sheets for implementing this lesson


Modeling Friction Through Inquiry in a Physics First class

Problem of practice

A conventional treatment of "coefficient of friction" that emphasizes looking up values in a table is unmotivated and even dishonest. The reliably proportional relationship between friction and normal force provides an opportunity for students to develop a model for this relationship through student-designed experiment.


Use inquiry to develop a graphical and algebraic model of friction that emphasizes the specific experimental conditions. Furthermore, situations to which the model may NOT apply can be examined to provide a more robust understanding of the model.

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